JUN 20, 2017 04:25 PM PDT
Imagine if your flat tire could heal itself!
2 1 116

An up-and-coming field in science revolves around the idea of materials healing themselves. Can you imagine what life would be like if, when your tire is punctured by those annoying glass shards on the road, instead of throwing it out and replacing it with a new one, it could fix itself? And it wouldn't be just tires; think tools, sidewalks, anything made out of these special self-healing rubbers and plastics that scientists are diligently working on. So how do they work?

For self-healing rubber, the idea depends upon the chemical bonds between the charged molecules within the rubber. The sulfur that is normally added to rubber to make it stronger is replaced with a pair of charged butyl imidazolium and bromide ions, which acts to not only strengthen the rubber but also be more resilient than sulfur because the ions can break and reform their bonds, allowing for the intended self-healing property. When heat is added, the ions form these ionic bonds even quicker and their strength is enough to keep the rubber together!

Self-healing plastics work a bit differently. To do this, scientists mix tiny packets of healing agents, which are essentially special glue, into plastics and paints. When the plastic cracks, the packets will release the healing agents in order to seal the crack. To successfully heal, though, the plastic requires a curing agent, which ensures that it "sets," or dries. At the time, scientists are looking to expand this technology into concrete and metal with the hopes that we can make our materials more sustainable!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She currently lives in Colombia.
You May Also Like
MAY 03, 2018
Videos
MAY 03, 2018
Don't ignore these symbols if they pop up in your dreams!
Here are 10 dream symbols that you should never ignore if they appear during your nighttime snooze: 1. Falling. Falling is often a symbol for losing contro
MAY 13, 2018
Videos
MAY 13, 2018
What Might Hearing From Aliens Actually Sound Like?
Astronomers have long-theorized about the presence of intelligent alien life elsewhere in the universe, but humankind has yet to discover it anywhere offic
MAY 20, 2018
Videos
MAY 20, 2018
Why Are Peppers Spicy?
Peppers are plants and those that are spicy use their spiciness as a defense mechanism against predation. In fact, scientists thought that pepper plants ev
MAY 24, 2018
Videos
MAY 24, 2018
E-cigarette Flavoring Disrupts Lung Cells
E-cigarette users may not know that what they are inhaling has probably not been tested to see what health effects it has. New research has indicated that
JUN 07, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUN 07, 2018
Hantavirus Kills a Woman in New Mexico
Hantavirus is a respiratory disease that is contracted when airborne particles from rat droppings and urine are breathed into the lungs. Symptoms can initi
JUN 16, 2018
Videos
JUN 16, 2018
What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis?
All parents want a healthy baby, and for some people that carry genetic mutations, the decision to have children presents a challenge.
Loading Comments...